‘Boris lock’ key to Brexit deal as Corbyn-May talks make progress

Discussions between Labour and Tories over changes to Brexit deal make some progress – but even if May finally learns to compromise, measure to legally protect compromise from May’s successor, whether Johnson or another hard-Brexiter, would be essential

There have been limited positive signs in discussions between Jeremy Corbyn’s team and the Tories about possible changes to May’s Brexit plan that might allow its passage through Parliament.

While the Tories are briefing media about a possible ‘temporary’ customs union, Labour would not accept a deal that would not protect it from May’s eventual – or speedy – successor, likely to be a ‘hard Brexiter’ such as Boris Johnson.

Hence the ‘Boris lock’.

Labour is likely to press for a legal guarantee that the Transition Period of any withdrawal agreement extends beyond June 2022 – meaning that there would be a general election before the UK’s new relationship with the EU takes effect.

This would ensure UK voters could block any ‘Brexit ultra’ fantasy of a ‘Canada-style’ Brexit or worse. If the next Tory leader wished to overturn the law-based guarantee, s/he would have to gain a parliamentary majority for new legislation – which would be essentially impossible, at least without a general election to change the composition of MPs.

Any deal Labour might agree to back in Parliament would include such a ‘lock’, as well as the changes needed on a customs union and other areas, before it was put back to MPs in a Commons vote.

This route would also fit with the NEC’s recently-renewed commitment to enacting Brexit as long as a form can be found that protects the country from the worst effects of Tory incompetence, arrogance and greed.


May’s inability to think flexibly still makes any agreement between the parties an uphill prospect, but the bones of something that might work – for the good of the nation and the protection of its people – are starting to emerge.

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    1. Do you really, honestly, think that it won’t be an issue???? The position of the parties on Brexit will echo on for years.

    2. veronica57livecouk. The ONLY way the Brexit mess can be lessened, it will never be eliminated, before any GE, is to put it back to the electorate.

      1. The underlying problem-that the Governing party cannot be trusted and that the Opposition is riddled with Fifth Columnists-would still be there after a re-vote on the Referendum.
        Putting “it” back to the electorate means nothing unless “it” means Parliament. In which case a General Election would solve all problems, particularly if it was preceded by a General Re-selection in every constituency to ensure that the candidates appearing on the ballots actually represented the positions of their sponsoring local parties.

  1. This doesn’t even make sense.
    If a deal is agreed (a seriously unlikely prospect), then it is agreed by the UK & the EU. Boris cannot change it on a whim, much as he’d like to. And even Boris wouldn’t just walk away from an international treaty, when Brexit Fatigue would have hit bigly. What would be the point? We’d be out by then, and even the tories would want to move on.
    But frankly, I cannot imagine May compromising more than a fraction – and I cannot imagine Labour agreeing to an infinitesimal advance on her awful ‘deal’.

  2. Difficult to believe Grassroots Tory activists are so deluded they would elect BJ as leader even assuming their MPs allowed him to be on the ballot.

  3. The problem with Jeremy is that he has spent months pursuing two right wing demands in Labour’s EU dealings – staying in a customs union (which clobbers the poorest people in Britain whilst also clobbering people in the Third World of which JC was once such an advocate) and frictionless trade (socialist economists like Larry Elliot remind us that the Left should be interested in adding friction to trade not doing away with it).

    By contrast Jeremy has NOT spent the past months pursuing left wing demands such as freedom of a socialist Labour government to establish public monopolies and to fund them with industrial subsidies in conformity with the government’s own perception of the national interest (i.e. the interests of the working class) – without supervision of the neoliberal EU Commission.


    1. “national interest (i.e. the interests of the working class)”

      Definitions? RG’s? Marx’s? Bullingdon Club’s? Chucking knee-jerk terminology around like confetti doesn’t convince or certifcate righteousness.

      1. Most Labour supporters have no difficulty distinguishing the Many from the Few. Could be a useful qualifying question for membership.

      2. Be careful of simplistic assumptions. Anyone with a bit of nous would indeed have difficulty. Those who didn’t would be deluded.

        For information the ‘Many’ are actually the ‘Middle Classes’ by the commonest definition. Or do you term them ‘working class’ – which would be an alternative definition for many?

        Thus the question. Perhaps a better requirement of Labour Party members should just be having a grasp of the basics? Or not, as the case may be

      3. The grasp of basics, you say? By whatever definition of “class”, leave is the home of the anti globalist working class. Their fellow travellers have always worked to alter the sharing of spoils to favour those who actually produce them. Thanks be to them and the need for home owning middle classes to understand, their wealth is illusionary and they’re next for having their professions removed and their wages undercut. There is no such thing as an entrepreneur.

      4. “leave is the home of the anti globalist working class”

        No it isn’t. Pure fiction.

        You’re confusing poverty with the Brexit crap that will do nothing for it.

        People who voted ‘Leave’ were only marginally ‘anti-globalist’ : the majotity just followed MSM pap fed to them.

        Your notions of class, built simply on resentment, and ‘bugger my neighbour’ has nothing to offer the real problems and victims of deprivation and inequality. Putting a wrapper labelled ‘working class’ around nonsense doesn’t make it sense.

    2. “The problem with Jeremy is that he has spent months pursuing two right wing demands in Labour’s EU dealings”
      You are mistaken. He has simply been pursuing Labour party policies. That’s his job.
      Your argument is interesting, but moot.
      The die was cast two at the referendum.

      1. You’ve ducked the problem : that party policy reflected right wing demands.

        And thereby hangs the tail.

      2. “that party policy reflected right wing demands”
        While that might (or might not) have been an interesting argument two years ago, it’s of purely academic interest now. We are where we are, and you choose to ignore the point – which is that JC and the Labour Party are pursuing Labour party policy. And will continue so to do.
        Which, cut it how you like, is preferable to Tory party policy.
        Sadly, it’s the tories in government.

  4. I happen to think a “Canada style” deal, Canada+ or similar Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is probably the best option but any deal we negotiate with Europe MUST HAVE INBUILT PROTECTION AGAINST MULTINATIONALS. Therein lies the problem. I don’t trust the Tories to negotiate such a deal and I’m doubtful about Labour’s intent. Someone like Starmer or any “centrist” would see such protection as anti-business. We could end up having a trade deal similar to the TTIP deal with Europe and America, If that happens we are well and truly stuffed forever.

    1. You really think May is revising the whole deal she took two years too make, and dragged through an unwilling Parliament three times. Really?

  5. …talks ‘make progress’ to what?

    A betrayal of 17.4 million people who instructed these politicians to remove us from the EU?

    THAT ain’t progress. That is betrayal.

    I spoiled my EU referendum ballot paper in the full knowledge that both camps would be thoroughly corrupt in the pursuit of their own vested interests, and I was never going to be a party to that.

      1. In RH’s world, adjectives used by leave supporters are doctrinaire, he also gets extremely irritated if you mention “the working class” and starts ranting about “definitions”.
        He knows he’s right and you are wrong. He can’t see beyond a second referendum and doesn’t care about the implications, but being a grumpy, doctrinaire old duffer, he is unable to change. Your accusation amounts to ” bullshit ” because he says it does.

      2. “He knows he’s right and you are wrong”

        True, lundiel. I absolutely agree.

        ‘Betrayal’ is a ridiculous, self-aggrandising term for perfectly a logical disagreement over the way forward in a position where the majority did not endorse a course of action.

        The term could as easily be applied in this loose way to a Party opposing the will of its members in aping Tory policy.

        .. but I wouldn’t use it.

      3. Quoting Jeremy Corbyn’s most recent tweet here:

        “The Tories’ plan to scrap free TV licences for over-75s is a *betrayal*.

        Pensioner poverty is on the rise and four in 10 older people say TV is their main source of company.

        The Tories’ 2017 manifesto promised to keep these free licences – they must not go back on their word now… ”

        Agreed RH?

      4. “Be careful of simplistic assumptions.” “For information the ‘Many’ are actually the ‘Middle Classes”…….. I love you RH.

      5. lundiel – that was actually a factual statement, based on the commonly used definition of ‘class’.. Not an opinion.

        Which is why I raised the question in the first place. If words are going to be used, then an agreed definition is essential. ‘Class’ is one where the definitions have always varied, in both everyday and more precise operational terms.

        … and Wirral .. the objection to the word ‘betrayal’ was in the specific context of talking about the referendum, which – if you’ve been around these last few years – you may have noticed is a matter of much dispute between two halves of the country.

        To call the non-implementation of a stupidly impossible action, supported by only 37% of the electorate ‘betrayal’ is abuse of language – the politics of the playground.

      6. Yes, I’ve been around. But which side had a majority in the EU referendum? Which side won the right to instruct politicians to act on their wishes? Which side appear to be getting ignored and thereby betrayed – yes – betrayed? Not on a playground as you say, but with massive, societal and global implications. Thanks.

      7. “which side had a majority in the EU referendum?”

        The ‘side’ that didn’t support Brexit – the 63%.

        You’re grasp of the norms in one-off constitutional votes is a bit lacking.

      8. Your grasp of how democracy works is a little lacking.
        In the UK, voting is not mandatory, and once the counting is done, the side with the most votes wins.
        If someone elects not to register to vote, or not to use their vote, they have abdicated their involvement in the process.
        They COULD have registered to vote / they COULD have voted. They chose not to.
        They are entitled to that choice; you are not entitled to make assumptions about what their vote might have been, nor to whine about it.
        In a UK election, that’s how it works. I don’t know where you come from, but I know of nowhere that counts votes not cast.

      9. That’s one remarkable theatre of the absurd that you occupy RH, but hey, thank you for your contribution. Much appreciated. Now run along and play.

  6. The only way forward is another vote with proper options. Trouble is that another referendum could easily leave out a No Deal or No Brexit option when that is what it is all about. Brexit may be the choice of the very left and the very right but more and more people realise it is insane.

    1. I don’t want to get stuck on the pedantic bandwagon here, but by ‘proper’, you simply mean ‘your preferred options’.
      But it will still be a pointless exercise.
      Another referendum, whether a ‘people’s vote’, a ‘confirmatory vote’ or, hopefully, a less disingenuous ‘Referendum 2’, will still, almost certainly, produce a 48/52 or 52/48 result (or very similar), solving nothing.
      You can quote opinion polls at me until you are blue in the face – but opinions will change, and will almost certainly polarise over the duration of a new campaign, which will be as dishonest (Leave), fear-based (Remain) and confused (whatever other options get squeezed in) as it was before.
      Leaving us exactly where we are now, but even more bitter.

      1. “I don’t want to get stuck on the pedantic bandwagon”

        Don’t worry about that – the greater danger here is chucking half undertood terms around with gay, inaccurate abandon.

        But the dangers of another referendum is far less than the current danger of following a half-arsed course of ation on the basis of the constitutional and political illiteracy of the first.

        Perpetuating crass mistakes is – as Einstein pointed out – a mark of insanity.

      2. “Perpetuating crass mistakes is – as Einstein pointed out – a mark of insanity.”
        And repeating mistakes – such as the referendum – is just insanity of a different kind.
        Those who fail to learn the lessons of history seem intent on repeating them.

      3. There is, of course another way – but I doubt that you’ll endorse that, either – simply withdraw Article 50 – which would be a truer reflection of ‘The Will of The People’ if you believe in that sort of language.

        Failing that, the only way to avoid simple capitulation to the right is another, more considered referendum.

        I don’t underestimate the difficulties – but this could have been ameliorated by Labour stating the unambiguous and glaringly obvious at an earlier stage.

      4. “withdraw Article 50 – which would be a truer reflection of ‘The Will of The People’ ” – in your opinion.
        As well as dubious assumptions in your response, you choose to ignore the distinct possibility of 52/48-48/52. But then, if you don’t like the result, we can just have another referendum, can’t we? And another, and …
        Equally realistically, we could get a time machine, go back and prevent David Cameron’s parents from ever meeting. Problem solved.
        We are where we are. I didn’t dig this hole, but I’m not going to pretend I’m not in it, just because it’s a stupid, dirty, nasty hole.

  7. Isn’t there a principle that no legislation may prevent a future government from repealing it?
    That the most recent legislation always applies?
    I appreciate that what’s being suggested is different – a legal bar to a new Tory leader reneging on a May agreement may be possible, I don’t know.
    I’m just concerned that it might be spun by some later Tory government – with the enthusiastic support of the MSM – to mean that they can legally prevent an incoming Labour government from carrying out its manifesto because “Labour set the precedent in 2019.”

    1. But an incoming government cannot rewrite an international treaty, and that’s what this will be – although Mr Trump seems to think you can. Eventually it turns round and bites you on the bum.

      1. The key fact is that a treaty involves two or more parties, so can’t be changed without agreement.

    2. “Isn’t there a principle that no legislation may prevent a future government from repealing it?”

      Yes – I think that the constitutional principle is that beyond the normal process of standing legislation, a government can’t bind the hands of succeeding governments.

    1. This was one latest listing of the nags that count as ‘runners and riders’ :

      “McVey, Leadsom, Stewart, Johnson, Javid, Hancock, Hunt, Raab and perhaps Gove, Harper, Cleverly, Mordaunt, Mercer, Lewis.”

      What a f.ing pantomime.

      The only problem is that, in the face of this, Labour should be laughing all the way to the electoral bank.

  8. I guess we must have entered the ‘EU Election period’ when they have to be fair. The BBC didn’t cut either Jeremy’s EU speech or the questions.

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